Plainview-Old Bethpage School's Elluminate firm took first place and won...

Plainview-Old Bethpage School's Elluminate firm took first place and won a $500 prize last month during an elevator pitch competition at LIU Post. Credit: Plainview-Old Bethpage School District

Students from Patchogue-Medford High School and Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK High School placed first and second, respectively, in a local competition that challenged them to pitch a fictional firm and its products in 60 seconds.

Patchogue-Medford’s EvoTech firm and Plainview-Old Bethpage’s Elluminate took the top spots over 89 others last month in the 2017 Virtual Enterprises International Elevator Pitch Competition at LIU Post in Brookville. Pitches covered topics such as company goals, new products and purchasing.

EvoTech and Elluminate received awards of $1,000 and $500, respectively, which will be used for future Virtual Enterprises materials. Third place went to Bethpage High School’s PetPair firm, which received $250.

“It was phenomenal,” Patchogue-Medford business teacher Rich Butzke said of EvoTech’s achievement. “The kids worked very hard and got a little taste of success.”

EvoTech’s pitch was delivered by senior Erin Winn and introduced three new products: a waterproof backpack that wirelessly charges devices and has Bluetooth speakers, an exhaust pipe attachment that filters out toxins, and a temperature-controlled hoodie.

Elluminate’s pitch was given by senior Karissa Eisinger and introduced an all-natural energy drink that uses Stevia and green tea extract to replace sugar and caffeine.

“To have come in second is amazing for us, considering it’s our first year,” said Gina Farrell, Plainview-Old Bethpage’s business teacher.

PetPair’s pitch, delivered by senior Marco Cunha, introduced a high-tech collar that performs tasks such as tracking a pet’s location and measuring its heart rate.



Floral Park Memorial High School is one of 23 new schools nationwide this year using a FUSE Lab, which is based on a program developed by Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and incorporates interactive learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Students visit the lab three times weekly to work independently or collaboratively to complete one of 25 challenges, which range from creating light displays to 3-D models. Floral Park freshmen currently are in a 10-week program cycle, with the next two cycles focusing on grades seven and eight.

“This program sets students up for success in any academic discipline,” said Daniel Mezzafonte, the school’s science chair.


Kindergarten Math Night

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School hosted its first-ever Kindergarten Math Night last month, with five classrooms centered on such skills as counting, addition and geometry. Members of Oyster Bay High School’s National Math Honor Society were on hand to give assistance.

One activity asked families to roll dice and smash Play-Doh on the matching number displayed on a chart. Another activity asked them to roll dice, move Lego towers around a color-coded board, and heighten or lower the tower based on each square’s instruction.

“The aim is for children to be critical thinkers,” principal Tami McElwee said.


Hispanic Heritage Month

Schools across Long Island hosted cultural activities and assemblies in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which was from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

In Lynbrook, filmmaker Denise Soler Cox presented her documentary “Being ñ” at North Middle School. The film recounts the experiences that she and others had growing up as “Enyes” — her term for first-generation, American-born Latinos with at least one parent from a Spanish-speaking country.

In East Rockaway, sixth-graders learned about the history of Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that focuses on remembering deceased loved ones.

Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School in Freeport hosted a student performance of Hispanic skits, dances and a rendition of the song “Hablando Claro” by a mariachi band comprised of sixth-graders.

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